Account-based marketing (ABM) is an alternative B2B strategy that concentrates sales and marketing resources on a clearly defined set of target accounts within a market. Personalized campaigns are designed to specifically resonate with each separate account.

ABM has become very popular because of the desired results many organizations have experienced when they switch to this account-based strategy. Companies using ABM have generated 200% more revenue (FlipMyFunnel) and 91% of marketers that use ABM have indicated landing larger deal sizes (SiriusDecisions). With stats like these, ABM has received lots of attention online, over social media, and has been promoted by companies of all kinds.

Lucky for you, we are going to share with you our 5 secrets to a successful ABM program so you know what you’re getting your sales and marketing teams into before you jump in.

Secret #1

Sorry but.. ABM is NOT for everyone.

Many people feel the need to implement an ABM program because everyone else is doing it. You see it all the time in books, ads, and hundreds of websites so it makes you feel like you’re missing out if you haven’t started doing it in your own business yet. However, to really succeed at ABM and get the increase in revenue you are seeking, you need to take the time to decide if ABM is truly the best fit for your organization.

How do I know?
There are different versions of ABM, but in general it is a one-to-one campaign, or, an individual campaign for every single target account. With this understanding, ABM is an ideal fit for enterprise accounts with complex, longer sales cycles due to the expense, time, and resources that go into executing these campaigns. For example, high-value accounts may need a lot of 1:1 conversations and require involvement from multiple sales reps along the way, an effort you may only want to consider taking with accounts that have large revenue potential.

Lucky for you, technology intelligence has enabled us to take certain aspects of ABM and create different account-based strategies that can help you reach many accounts in a personalized way. The key is to pick the right strategy fit for your organization, sales cycle, and situation.

3 Types of ABM

1) Strategic- traditional account-based marketing with a focus on a few high-value clients. This is the kind of ABM we have defined for you and is the most popular.

2) Lite – 1:Few – this is a great technique before you scale your ABM program. This is done by finding success with a smaller list of accounts before you replicate that strategy towards a larger number of accounts, so you can ensure positive results.

3) Programmatic – 1:Many – the most similar to traditional marketing that you are doing now. This is the best fit for organizations who focus mostly on small customers because it requires a high level of personalization towards all target accounts.

Secret #2

ABM is not a completely new game. 

It’s true that to run effective ABM campaigns you need better targeting, strong sales and marketing alignment, and possibly new ABM-specific technology solutions. But don’t let these things scare you from trying it out with the tools you already have in place — for example your CRM, MAP or sales engagement platform — because successful ABM isn’t about having the right tools, necessarily. It’s about having sales and marketing work together to define target accounts, develop a plan for communicating with these accounts in a systematic and personalized way, and measuring results based on metrics both teams agree upon, which is something you should already be doing anyway as part of your collective outreach.

If you want to give ABM a try, we recommend starting a small pilot program, testing approaches, measuring results and building upon your success over time. A pilot program gives you time to develop a good understanding of what works and what doesn’t, so that you can refine your process and then look for ways to become even more targeted and efficient with your approach. Once you reach that point, you’ll be in a better position to evaluate what additional tools or data you need to improve results.

Secret #3

ABM can be implemented with standard targeting!

You can use basic firmographic data to select what accounts to target for your account-based marketing, but technology intelligence is what can really take your ABM program to the next level. With tech intelligence you can redevelop your TAM and ICP so they are much more precise and effective. For example, tech insights can tell you about a company’s existing tech stack, what types of initiatives it has in place, and how much it is spending in different IT categories. When you have this kind of unique information combined with typical firmographic data, you can optimize your outreach to target the right types of customers — the ones most likely to buy from you based on your redefined ICP.

Understanding a company’s tech stack also helps you execute better ABM campaigns because you can tailor your messaging to address a company’s pain points directly instead of trying to engage them with a generic message.

Secret #4 

ABM is both a marketing AND sales initiative. 

For best results, you should think of ABM as ABSM, as in account-based sales and marketing. That’s because from targeting through execution, both sales and marketing teams need to collaborate to succeed. Sharing metrics can be a helpful tool in fostering a collaborative environment because there is a shared goal between both teams.

Account-based marketing is very persona based because you are going to be framing your outreach in a very specific message to engage a certain account. This is why we say that sales and marketing alignment is necessary, because if marketing is going to make content that is relevant to a very targeted audience, then it is important that sales follow up and make calls that refer to that specified content. For ABM (and most campaigns), the more significant you can make your content to your chosen audience, the more your message will resonate.

Many organizations struggle getting sales and marketing to really work together on joint initiatives, so we understand this might seem like it is hard to implement. But, this is just another reason why we love ABM. Adopting account-based marketing gives you an opportunity to start this alignment. Many sales people are interested in ABM due to the chance to get a higher volume of 1:1 conversations with their target audience and this can be a great reason for your sales team to collaborate more with marketing.

Secret #5

ABM is an ongoing process. 

What we mean by this is that outreach is not just done when necessary. You have to consistently and methodically reach out to your target accounts to convert them and make the deal. ABM is meant to help conversion rates because you’re able to grab your accounts’ attention with a specific message since each campaign is created separately for each account.

Here’s an example of a process that is built for ABM success: 

  1. Get the tools you need. The better you can target your audience, the better your results are going to be. By enriching your CRM with tech intelligence you can quickly identify what technologies your prospects have installed so you can see which of your offerings is the best fit with their current tech-stack or has the best up or cross sell opportunity. Couple that with IT spend intelligence and you have what you need to prioritize your outreach on the accounts with the largest budgets, and the greatest potential revenue. Learn more about how HG Insights can fuel your ABM success. 
  2. Create strategic messages. Now that you know your target accounts, you can tailor your account-based sales and marketing initiatives and develop effective messages for every account or group of accounts. Understanding a company’s tech stack, whether they use competitor or complementary products, and knowing when their contract expires, are all bits of information that can make your messages that much more targeted and timely during your initial outreach and when continuing the conversation. These insights also allow your SDRs to know what to say on the call so they deliver the right message at the right time, every time.
  3. Plan your outreach. ABM requires constant coordination to keep your sales and marketing teams aligned. Establish what marketing will send out in terms of account-based e-mail campaigns and digital advertising and also how sales will follow up with calls, personalized e-mails, and any social selling. 
  4. Clarify expectations. By determining success metrics with your sales and marketing teams from the start, you can all work towards common goals and easily determine if your program is achieving the results you are seeking. 
  5. Trust the process. It’s completely normal to continually adjust and tweak your ABM program until you work out a process that is the best fit for your company. Consistent improvement of your program will help you achieve the ROI results you’re looking for.

To hear where these secrets came from, watch our Dirty Secrets Behind ABM Success webinar now.